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Czechs commemorate victims of Communist show trials

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Jihlava, South Moravia, Aug 7 (CTK) – Over 50 people paid respect to the victims of the judicial murder of political prisoners in the former Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s, executed in the local prison between 1950 and 1952, on Sunday.

The commemorative act for eleven victims was held near a local memorial to them.

“Our past was very cruel, sad and dismal,” Karel Linhart, from the Confederation of Political Prisoners, said.

“However, it is necessary to keep the recollections so that young people know what ordeal we survived and what they should avoid,” Linhart said.

The participants in the act paid respect not only to the memory of those sentenced to the capital punishment, but also to hundreds of other convicted persons and thousands of persecuted in other ways.

“This year, the participation was better than a year ago. Mostly the elderly are coming. Most people forget, the young pay scant, if any interest in such events,” Linhart said.

Eleven men were hanged on the yard of the Jihlava Regional Court in 1950-1952. Seven of them were convicted in the “Babice trial.”

The case served the communists as a pretext to crack down on the Catholic church. It was stirred up by the murder of three Communist party officials in Babice, south Moravia, in summer 1951, of which the communist secret police StB accused an alleged anti-state group directed from abroad, linked to the Catholic Church.

Dozens of people were arrested, many were given tough sentences, including death penalties.

The case has never been entirely cleared up. According to historians, it was masterminded and staged by the StB.

One year before, three capital punishments were delivered for a group of members of the Czechoslovak People’s Party (now Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL).

The Communist regime charged them with having destroyed an office of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. They were hanged to death on June 17, 1950.

The commemorative act is regularly staged by the town hall along with the Czech Freedom Fighters and the Confederation of Political Prisoners.

It started in the morning by a mass served in a local church.

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